BNP outperforms every other party political website in Britain…

Fascinating piece by my colleague Chris Hope, which picks up on a report suggesting that the far right BNP does much better than the mainstream political party sites. They certainly don’t have the same popular support. So why do they so completely out perform the big guns? Conversely, why do mainstream parties do so badly for readers of their own political sites? I suspect parties in Ireland, north and south, suffer a similar dearth of readers.

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  • It’s generally not acceptable to have a serious conversation about what the BNP (claim to?) stand for. In polite society BNP = racist. That may be right (or not?), but either way, it’s much safer to do research on your own at home with nobody watching than talk to people (seriously) about them. It’s all just a bit taboo! That and it’s not like you’ll hear from them very often on Question Time.

    Conversely, it seems we’re always hearing from the big parties whether we want to or not. And more often than not, it’s the same old stories. Nothing new on their web sites really.*

    Summary: Familiarity (or lack thereof) has a lot to do with it.

    * Actually we rarely hear form the local Tories, who for all intents and purposes are a small party here, so their website is worth checking every now and again. Often times it’s got the same rubbish as the big parties, but every now and then they surprise you. </ party political broadcast>

  • qubol

    Mick: So why do they so completely out perform the big guns?

    It depends on how you measure performance though. Importantly it also depends on what metric Hitwise are using to measure ‘popularity’. Some online advertisers now use Time on Site to work out rates so I wonder how the BNP fairs on that scale – certainly their site (repulsive content aside) is a disaster that I can’t see being in the least bit sticky. You should also bear in mind that Hitwise only base their data on the logs of certain ISP’s which may skew results especially when you start looking at things in the detail Chris Hope has.

    Mick: Conversely, why do mainstream parties do so badly for readers of their own political sites?

    Why do people throw election leaflets in the bin?

  • My guess is that visiting the BNP website is a bit like watching a video of a woman “making love” to a donkey. 😉

  • An Lochlannach

    Well put, Chekov. I suspect that some unfortunate people in anti-fascist watchdog groups and in local police forces are obliged to keep an eye on this stuff. Journalists will read it hoping to catch the BNP letting their guard slip and breaking incitement laws. That’s a few loyal subscribers for a start.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    I suspect that there are a couple of dynamics in play here…

    1) Not to sink to Chekov’s depth, but, yes, there is the guilty pleasure of watching a train-wreck in action;

    2) As noted by beano, there is the need in polite society to avoid even the seeming of bias, so research is done in private;

    3) Like some other politicians, the BNP have little to lose tossing out the unvarnished, impolite and impolitic truth and address actual “bread and butter” issues that the main parties ignore. This leads to a certain schizophrenia, such as in France, when you had Muslims and Jews voting for LePen on the grounds that he was willing to address the lawlessness of areas.

    4) There are those busy-bodies who feel the need to police other people’s opinions and speech, who may be watching the site, looking and hoping to find something the mommy-state will consider actionable, trolling for thought-crimes, as it were.

  • Niall

    It’s the same reason people don’t read Hustler on the bus. Anonymity provides a safe forum for perverse views.

    While in no way making a comparison between the sites, I’d imagine some of the more aggressive posters on Slugger (or any politics site for that matter) are a lot politer in real life than their online presence would suggest.

  • hitmaster

    this is hardly something new, it’s been a fact for quite sometime.

    i largely agree with beano’s analysis.

    i suppose in a world inundated by such PC brow beating, people want to read an alternative view. Democracy and free speech is such a wonderful thing, if you can get it.

  • Cormac

    I suppose the BNP website is one of only a very few places to get BNP info. The big parties can rely on major publications that are more or less in sync with their Centre Left/Centre Right views. If you’re a BNP supporter, what are you going to read (Daily Mail aside)?

  • I wonder if it is because local “believers” feel isolated.

    I see no links to data on the piece, however.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    These sites can be amusing in their own quirky sort of way, kinda like the conspiracy theory sites, etc…

  • Briso

    Their supporters are zealots?

  • Hector

    More than seven times the hits on Labours website? More than three times the Conservatives? More than the major parties combined?

    The demographics indicated in the piece combined with low turn-out at elections suggest that there is a massive number of people out there who feel alienated and dispossessed and possibly have more than a passing agreement with the BNPs views on race and immigration.

    If I was Nick Griffin (and I’m not!) I would be over the moon with this swell of latent support!

  • Their supporters are zealots?

    Doubtit!, I doubt that the typical BNPer would thank you for the comparison!

    If I was Nick Griffin (and I’m not!) I would be over the moon with this swell of latent support!

    Some of the biggest hitters on the Brit blogosphere (Devil’s Kitchen, Samzidata etc) belong to the wayout libertarian fringes of political life, are we going to see a revival of libertarianism in British politics? I don’t think so.

    The internet gives you the option to put out any old rubbish you want (I should know;)), generally the more outlandish the rubbish pumped out, bigger your audience figures.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Does it say anything that Mick didn’t give a link to the website being discussed?

    I’m deeply sceptical that the people providing the story hold the demographic data on the 8 million internet users they claim.

    I was deeply sceptical of the value of political websites when I was a supporter of an establishment party (SF) and that scepticism continues now I am a supporter of a revolutionary party (éirígí) who like the BNP (while not being anything like them) rely on a web presence to give coverage denied by the MMS. I’m still convinced a million hits isn’t worth a days real work with real people for any politcal party/organisation.

  • Frank Sinistra

    MMS should be MSM above.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Hector: “The demographics indicated in the piece combined with low turn-out at elections suggest that there is a massive number of people out there who feel alienated and dispossessed and possibly have more than a passing agreement with the BNPs views on race and immigration.

    If I was Nick Griffin (and I’m not!) I would be over the moon with this swell of latent support! ”

    Support? Not quite there, but there is a level of interest / curiousity. That said, if there are issues that the other parties are not addressing that the BNP is, then Nick has some room for hope. That said, if it is an overlooked / underserved issue, the BNP will likely not get much traction, since one of the others will simply scoop it up once the BNP starts to get traction flogging that issue.

    oneil: “Some of the biggest hitters on the Brit blogosphere (Devil’s Kitchen, Samzidata etc) belong to the wayout libertarian fringes of political life, are we going to see a revival of libertarianism in British politics? I don’t think so. ”

    Not sure I’d write the notion off so quickly — I don’t know that it’d make a great deal of headway, but a couple decades of a nanny-state would have the dissatisfied looking at other options.

    The catch with prognostication is you don’t know if you’re right until you’re looking at things in the past tense.

    Frank Sinistra: “I was deeply sceptical of the value of political websites when I was a supporter of an establishment party (SF) and that scepticism continues now I am a supporter of a revolutionary party (éirígí) who like the BNP (while not being anything like them) rely on a web presence to give coverage denied by the MMS.”

    SF an establishment party… now I officially feel old.

  • Turgon

    I think Greagoir O’Frainclin has hit the nail on the head here. I would not go onto their website as they seem to regard hits as a measure of support but in a weird way such views are funny. That is of course until you take a step back and realise what they are actually saying, then it is just wrong.

    I have a hobby of surfing conspiracy theory websites but am not a conspiracy theorist. Elenwe is worried that MI5 may log these activities but I reckon that is a bit paranoid.

    The others who suggest that Jewish groups and the police / MI5 might be interested in them are also of course correct.

    Incidentally I think Mick not posting a link is a very good idea as the BNP would no doubt try to claim that Slugger supported them.

  • Frank Sinistra

    DC,

    What else are they?

    Permanently in government, running the police, ignoring previous aims – plastic bullets, accepting tasers, endorsing PFI, job cuts, land sell-offs, overseeing the shafting of low paid workers, allowing rights legisation to be sidelined..

    Seems like the establishment to me. A tokenistic protest over Irish doesn’t really balance that see-saw.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    MMS should be MSM above.

    Posted by Frank Sinistra on Oct 12, 2007 @ 09:04 PM

    Is that mainstream media?

  • bollix

    i always spent alot of time on love ulster website, not because i agreed with it, but because i found it hugely amusing (and sometimes offensive, but we find it interesting to be offended too).

    perhaps that sort of mentality also explains a fascination with it.

    also, i’m sure that pornographic websites get lots of hits as well, doesn’t necessarily mean a majority of people agreeing with them.

  • Rory

    I read Bollix’s post above earlier and I am still trying to puzzle out what there might be on a pornographic website that one might agree or disagree with. Am I missing something or do various sites take up political, religious or philosophical (as distinct from physical) positions? Is one site say, pro-fellatio and another anti-cunnilingus? Or do we have sites preaching “only the missionary position”?

    I really must get out more (or perhaps stay in more, hunched over the lap-top, little fingers all busy, little heart palpitating).

  • Jack Dash

    Might I suggest that many of the hits on the BNP site are anti-fascists keeping track of the burblings of the Bonehead National Party?